I have been writing for The Advocate for three years this month, crafting an estimated two columns per week, so there's quite a bit of history being accumulated.
I wrote through two impeachment hearings, the Mueller investigation, and covered most every detestable thing Donald Trump did during the last two years of his presidency and in his post-presidency.
I've talked to Mary Trump a couple of times, and as a psychologist, she gave me insight into the depravity of her uncle.
I also spoke to a number of gay and lesbian members of Congress about all the horrible havoc Trump was instigating. I talked with the former president of the Log Cabin Republicans, who left the party, fed up with all the rot Trump infused into the GOP.
There were other credible sources who helped me along the way, with the goal of always trying to shine a light on the tyranny, bigotry, and insanity of Donald Trump.
And as an aside, I made it a point never to put the word "President" in front of his name. I'm proud that I stuck to that because he was never really a president.
The testimony during the January 6 committee public hearings of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson and other White House staffers about Trump's petulant (thank you, Liz Cheney!) behavior was earth-shattering.
Or was it? Hutchinson and others finally ripped -- not pulled -- the curtain apart and exposed the hideous and heinous animal that Trump is behind closed doors and otherwise. America, many said, finally saw who the real Donald Trump was. But I don't think that's true.
Trump pushed the prime minister of Montenegro out of his way at a NATO summit (he tried to push NATO out of the way too). So it should not be inconceivable that he would push his Secret Service detail around.
Eyebrows were raised about the December 18 six-hour White House meeting with the bottom-feeders who snuck in, namely Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Mike Flynn, and the former CEO of Overstock, Patrick Byrne. But Trump's campaign met with Russian spies in June of 2016 in Trump Tower in the failed attempt to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. Which one is worse?
Trump made his Secret Service detail take him for a joyride in front of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center while he had severe COVID, risking the health of his detail while they drove him around so he could wave at the MAGA rodents in front of the hospital. That Trump tried to grab the wheel of the presidential vehicle from his Secret Service detail seems to pale in comparison.
Trump threw paper towel rolls at a crowd of homeless, starved, displaced, and desperate Puerto Ricans after the territory was devastated by a hurricane. Trump threw a plated hamburger against the wall in the presidential dining room after Attorney General Bill Barr said there was no election fraud. Which throw was more heartless?
Trump ordered an attack with tear gas, flash bangs, and other ammunition on peaceful protesters in front of the White House after George Floyd's murder. Why are we suddenly caught off guard that Trump wanted metal detectors' "mags" taken down so his armed cabal could enter the National Mall?
That Trump did and said nothing to calm the unrest after Charlottesville except to say that there were good people on both sides; thus, we are to be alarmed that he did nothing to stop the racist and neofascist insurrectionists on January 6 except to tell them they are "loved"?
You get the picture, or you've seen this picture before. You get the idea, or you had this idea before, and you know the story, or you knew Trump's story long before Hutchinson and others came along. This is a mob movie that we've seen countless times that makes "Scarface" look like a teen coming of age story.
Someone else who was not surprised in the least was Mary L. Trump, the former president's niece. She is the best-selling author of "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man," a definitive examination of her uncle's psyche, and the host of The Mary L. Trump Show.
I had to reach out to her again, to see what she thought of all the news about Donald that has busted forth from these riveting hearings. When I spoke to her two years ago this month, she was prophetic. She summed up in one sentence what her uncle was all about: "He will never get better and may get worse."
I asked her, first, do you ever get tired of saying "I told you so"? "I don't put it in those terms," she said during a phone catch-up this week. "At this point, anyone who is surprised by what they're hearing about Donald isn't paying attention. There's nothing to be surprised about. From throwing food to getting rid of the 'mags' so that armed militias could attend his rally, he's capable of anything. He did get worse, like I said, much worse."
Mary Trump explained that he hurts people and pushes them around and scares them because he knows they can't retaliate.
Does she think her uncle has been glued to the hearings? "Donald's problem is that he needs attention. He craves it. The hearings are all about him and that makes him happy. It's virtually impossible for him to stay away. Now, when Liz Cheney said he was a 76-year-old man and not a petulant child, that probably bothered him, only because she is a strong woman who would dare defy him."
Recently, Trump said that she thinks her uncle might be the one who is scared now. What did she mean by that? "Clearly he's trying to use his power to manipulate people to not testify or not testify truthfully, so the witness tampering is a desperate ploy," she pointed out. "Also, he's contemplating declaring his candidacy earlier, since he thinks doing so will somehow protect him."
Trump added that Donald "has never faced the consequences of his actions, and he knows that, and he's in no mood to find out what it means to be accountable."
One of his actions that's generated a lot of media attention is his plate throwing. Mary Trump and I had a good laugh about that, but I wondered if she had ever seen him throw a plate or throw a tantrum while she was growing up. "He never had to," she was quick to say. "He was always the center of attention in the family. No one ever questioned him. We were all spectators and cheerleaders to Donald, so there was nothing for him to be upset about. My grandfather constructed a world where Donald could do no wrong. He was always made to feel like the most important person on the planet."
I asked if she would ever see him succumbing to being led away in handcuffs. Or would he barricade himself at Mar-a-Lago or, worse, off himself to avoid the embarrassment? "No, he would do neither," Trump explained. "I don't know how that would work, whether his attorneys would negotiate something beforehand, or if the FBI would raid his home at dawn. Either way, he would make himself the victim and that the real crime was being committed unfairly against him."
I threw out a hypothetical about it going all going south for Donald. If he ever ended up in prison. "Let's hope so!" Mary interrupted with a laugh. If he ended up behind bars, what would he miss the most, his funky hair or fake tan? "There's no way he would ever allow himself to think that would happen to him. He's been manipulated to believe his own greatness. That he is the handsomest, smartest, and most brilliant person in the world."
"Now, having said all that, if he did end up behind bars, he would adapt in some way," she continued. "He left the grandeur of the White House, and now he's just another guy at the cafeteria at Mar-a-Lago who crashes weddings there so people applaud him. He will adapt to being in reduced circumstances."
Will her uncle run again? "He didn't like the job, and the main reason he'd run is he thinks he can avoid being charged with any crime. But he loved the job because he took advantage of the emoluments clause and made money during his term. The best thing about the presidency to him is that it's a good grift gig that made him a lot of money."
John Casey is editor at large for The Advocate.
Views expressed in The Advocate's opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, Equal Pride.